Logging On to Healing – A New Resource for Men Who Experienced Childhood Sexual Abuse: 1in6 Thursdays on the Joyful Heart Foundation Blog
I received an email from a long-time 1in6 staff person this past Tuesday that simply said: ‘It is truly a remarkable accomplishment we’ve achieved this evening.’
They were correct on a couple of fronts, and I could not be more proud.
The accomplishment was the launch of the new 1in6 Online Peer SupportGroup (PSG) that we have been working on for just about a year now.
What started as a dream, where we would be able to provide anonymous, safe, and therapeutically sound support groups to men in real-time, became a reality, when the LA-based Ahmanson Foundation seeded the idea earlier this year.
After securing seed money to develop the idea, and contracting with our partner RAINN to customize the software platform to meet our specific needs, we were off and running.
Mid-summer, we began training a group of four therapists and four ‘gate keepers,’ who would be the lifeblood of the support group. The therapists, providing therapeutically-sound guidance, and the gatekeepers, ensuring the anonymity and safety of every participant, trained on the technology every other week for several months. Finally, we were ready to launch the program – the first of it’s kind to our knowledge – this past Tuesday, October 6th at 7:00 pm PT.
What we didn’t know was, would any men show up? Would the innovative combination of therapist-led discussion and peer-to-peer chat be manageable and effective?
After the session, I heard from the therapist and gatekeeper praising the courage, engagement, and openness of the men who participated in the first 90-minute PSG. Rick (the therapist) had to scramble to keep up with the chatting/typing, there was so much activity going on.
I had to smile. It worked!
Men from across the country and perhaps around the world had a safe place where they met in real time, anonymously, and with the guidance of a licensed professional, to discuss, maybe for the first time ever, what they may have wanted to discuss for so very long.
As I said above, the long-time 1in6 staff person was correct on a couple of fronts, the other being their use of the word ‘we’. In fact ‘we’ includes so very many people, from our board members, who believe in pushing the envelope, and encourage creativity, but always within a ‘safety first’ context; the Ahmanson Foundation, who believed in the idea before we had completely fleshed it out; our partners at RAINN (special thanks to Candice, Jeff, and Jen) and to the unending commitment of the 1in6 staff, who will do whatever it takes to serve the countless men who make their way to our websites, presentations, trainings, awareness campaigns and now, Online Peer SupportGroups, especially Brian, Bryan, Colten, Martha, Meredith, Peter, Rick and Steve S.
A milestone moment for the movement, for 1in6, and most importantly, for the men who joined us.
Spread the word: The 1in6 Online PSG is open (and it’s free).
Read more on the Joyful Heart Foundation blog